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Six Steps To Successfully Buying Vintage Online

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

1950s lady on black dress, hat and gloves with red and black shopping bags

Online shopping really is the 'New Way' as we have all had to learn and adapt, if we were not doing it before the Pandemic, many of us have had to change the way we shop.

shopping online on iPad with green plants and pen
Shopping Online

We have dipped our toes into the online world of shopping, and found it very convenient. I actually pivoted my whole business online so I have put together some tips for buying vintage pieces using my experience of buying and selling vintage over the years, together with my knowledge and experience of clothing, fabrics and historical fashion from working with them for well, most of my life ! So here are my Six Steps for finding out that piece of Vintage online and avoiding disappointment.

Step 1: Explore Who You Are Buying From?

When you buy vintage you are usually buying from a small business owner, but who are they ? what is their back ground, training and how long have they been working in the Vintage Fashion Industry. There are some well established vintage traders who really know their stuff, however like any business there are some inexperienced people who do not have the same knowledge. So do look them up and find out how long they have been trading for and what others say. Reputable sellers will have information about their background and their story and any awards and reviews they have on their websites.

WhoTop Tip: Follow sellers on social media platforms to find out more about them

Step 2: Discover the Fabric

When you go into a bricks and mortar shop the first thing you do when you like an item is to reach out and touch it, now you can't do this online so look for a thorough description of the fabric, what is it made from, is it fluid, how does it hang and what is the weight and importantly does it have stretch. Many vintage clothes are not labelled with this information so it needs an experienced eye of a seller to inform you all of these things, likewise with household items and and pieces of Jewellery.

Cream lace vintage dress with bell sleeves and cream wool wrap
Rock Follies Vintage 1960s Lace Dress & Wool Wrap

Fabric Tops Tips

Different fabrics have different weights and this will effect the way it hangs, check if the item is lined and if a weight is described from sheer lightweight through to medium and heavy weight. Examine the photographs in detail there should be photographs of all views and close ups.

Step 3: Size Does Matter - Measure -Measure - Measure

Selecting a Vintage item online is all about the fit and it really is quiet easy to avoid buying an item that doesn't fit you. Size labels as we all know are just as confusing today as they were when the vintage item you have fallen in love with was produced. I have written a Size Guide, on the website so do look at it for more details for men and women. The main thing to do is Measure around your body and write down three basic measurements. Women measure AROUND your Bust, Waist, Hips At Rock Follies Vintage, these measurements will give you a basic guide to see where you fall in the Size Chart that we use, and the size chart that many dressmakers and companies historically used. Also check the length of the hemline and sleeve bearing in mind that these can usually be shortened easily and sometimes lengthened but not always.

vintage mannequin with tape measure around neck infant of a rail of vintage clothing
Tape Measure at the Ready !

Measuring Top Tips:

  1. Are you going to alter theses measurements with shape wear like they did back in the day with corsets etc. if so measure over your shape wear.

  2. Measure a similar item in your wardrobe and check the measurements.

  3. You can often have vintage clothing altered to get the exact fit, so communicate with your your seller so they can inform you of any seam allowance if this information is not listed.

  4. Measurement guide form and tape measure set is available to order on Rock Follies Vintage website.

Step 4: Establish Vintage Condition

Vintage items are not new they date back to a particular era, some have survived in amazing condition, while others may show some signs of age. Reputable sellers will point the flaws and any damage and even grade the quality of the item like we do at Rock Follies Vintage. Although we do not sell items with missing buttons or hems coming down, as we always undertake any repairs like this prior to listing them. Sometime there may still be a flaw and a reputable seller as described in step 1. will always point out and indeed reflect this in the price. Here at Rock Follies Vintage to assist our customer we have listed our items into three Conditions

Condition Top Tips

  1. Mint Vintage Condition: Means the item although Vintage is unworn and good as the day it was made.

  2. Excellent Vintage Condition: Means the item is in great shape for its age. (Most of our stock will fall into this category) any small flaws will be pointed out

  3. Flawed Vintage Condition: Means the item is wearable but does have some repair, mark or damage. The flaws will be described.

Step 5: Experiment

If you always do what you what you have always done you won't try any thing new. So look at items that you would not normally wear or buy to open up your view point. Remember in a bricks and mortar shop unusual special items will be placed at a vantage point that you will see as you walk around the shop, online you will have to make that journey yourself as we cannot put every item on our home pages, so explore with vintage shopping on line, give your self some time to open new pages and new collections of items you never normally would look 'at just saying' there is so much more to original vintage, perhaps dive into a decade that you know nothing about. Also think about layering and making a capsule wardrobe to make your vintage wardrobe work together rather than stand alone pieces.

Step 6:Have Fun

And of course enjoy the search for your vintage treasure and how exciting is it waisting for the parcel to arrive ! Also if possible depending upon where in the world you live most reputable sellers of Vintage Clothing will allow you to visit to try the item on either in a shop or like Rock Follies Vintage by appointment. In fact we miss our customers so much that we are planning on some Vintage Garden Parties from Spring 2022 in Kidderminster, Worcestershire UK . These will be by invitation only so make sure you have signed up to our newsletter to get your invite.

Vintage Bunting Flying in the wind
Rock Follies Vintage Garden Party

Top tips - Sign up for Rock Follies Vintage Newsletter

Start your online Shopping Journey Visit

Happy Online Shopping

Lynda Case x

Owner and Founder of Rock Follies Vintag


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